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Old 05-29-2022, 10:56 AM   #1
Jhanis
 
Join Date: May 2022
Default GURPS Racial Templates

Hey Guys,

So I've been playing 4e GURPS with my friends for a while now and I'm branching out to try and make some characters of different races: Dwarves, Elves, Fairies, etc.

But I look at the racial templates and: You MUST spend 35 points to make a dwarf and take all these stats, you MUST spend 150 points to make a Vampire and take all these stats.

What the crap?! That means humans are instantly going to be immediately better in any skills because they didn't need to waste points just creating their character that is average for the race. Humans start at 0 but Dwarves start at -35? How is that fair and balanced? It feels like there is no incentive to play anything other than humans for every game. Humans don't have to buy Opposable Thumbs [10], Social Animal [10], Warm Blooded [5] etc right off the bat.

Also, if I make a giant I get a 10% discount on ST points per +1 Size Modifier, but if I make a fairy I don't get any discounts on any attribute points at all. If I lower ST to 6 (because Fairy) I'm going to have to spend that 40 extra points on flight straight away anyway.

Is there some other module that has been released which balances the races better than the 4e Basic Set?

Last edited by philreed; 05-30-2022 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:07 AM   #2
Anders
 
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

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Originally Posted by Jhanis View Post
Is there some other module that has been released which balances the races better than the 4e Basic Set?
Almost certainly not. That's how GURPS handles races.

How would you handle them?
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

GURPS is a point-buy system, and an inescapable consequence of that design paradigm is that any point spent on one thing incurs an opportunity cost in that said point cannot be spent on anything else.

That might mean that a character with an expensive racial template (such as a vampire) will end up less skilled than a character at a similar point total than one who dumped all of their points into skills- but said skillful character won't be hypnotizing people, turning into swarms of bats, or shrugging off injuries that would kill a normal person.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

You seem to be working off of the assumption that what GURPS calls a “racial template” is a separate and special part of the character when it's not, it's just another pile of traits that a character can have. It just happens to be a pile of traits with social (non-game-mechanical) indicators attached.

A Navy SEAL is going to be a higher point value character than an average bloke, because the SEAL has lots of training and physical conditioning the average bloke doesn't have. If that SEAL is also an Elf, then they're going to be a higher-point value than the average SEAL, because they can do things that the SEAL can't. The same thing holds true if the SEAL was an ordinary human who obtained elf-like capabilities through innate talent, training, or augmentations — if you have a trait, you're paying points for that trait.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

GURPS is not like other systems where races are blackboxed and just come as is. In GURPS - in all of GURPS - you get what you pay for. So if your race is strong you pay for extra ST. Humans can buy ST too - but they'll never be as strong as the strongest member of a strong race. That's just how it works.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

The alternative would be to make all racial templates come out to 0 points, which would be a bother.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:45 AM   #7
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

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Originally Posted by Jhanis View Post

What the crap?! That means humans are instantly going to be immediately better in any skills because they didn't need to waste points just creating their character that is average for the race. Humans start at 0 but Dwarves start at -35? ?
Nope. Only the lowliest NPCs start as 0 pt Characters but if they do lowly dwarves probably start as 35 pt characters.

You seem to be giving no value to the Traits in a Racial Template but they are as valuable there as they would be if you bought them independantly. That +1 to HT that Dwarves get is certainly valuable. If you were making a Human I'd almsot always recommend you spend some pts on raising HT above 10.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:52 AM   #8
Jhanis
 
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
Almost certainly not. That's how GURPS handles races.

How would you handle them?
I think I would have racial templates that start at 0 point buy and have the average set different to 10s across the board.

So something like:
Human ST10, DX10, IQ10, HT10
Dwarf ST12, DX8, IQ9, HT11
Elf ST8, DX12, IQ10, HT9

Then you start out with that class, with racial traits already installed like night vision, long sight, etc. If the GM allows the race in the game, then you can choose it as your base and build from there.

Either that or make it cheaper for different races to buy into different stats. Dwarves and giants buy HT and ST at half that of humans, but DX at double. Elves buy DX at half, but ST at double.

The thing is, creatures like Half-Elves are just better than humans. They would pretty much be 11s across the board, because they're the best of both races. However, the GM could then make them less desirable by setting their Status at being less than ideal. Ostracised by Humans and Elves for example.

Not saying I have all the answers, but the way it is now just seems unfairly weighted in favour of humans.

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Originally Posted by Vilobion View Post
GURPS is a point-buy system, and an inescapable consequence of that design paradigm is that any point spent on one thing incurs an opportunity cost in that said point cannot be spent on anything else.

That might mean that a character with an expensive racial template (such as a vampire) will end up less skilled than a character at a similar point total than one who dumped all of their points into skills- but said skillful character won't be hypnotizing people, turning into swarms of bats, or shrugging off injuries that would kill a normal person.
Yes it's a point buy system, but it's starting with human as a base, so they get free stuff. Most of the advantages and disadvantages are assuming you're playing a human and what would be advantageous or disadvantageous to them. Flight to a fairy isn't an advantage, it's a necessity. It's not something they can just develop any more than a human having sight in the visual light specturm, or hearing between 20Hz and 20kHz is an advantage.

It's unfair to the other races that humans don't have to buy their natural traits, but they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celti View Post
You seem to be working off of the assumption that what GURPS calls a “racial template” is a separate and special part of the character when it's not, it's just another pile of traits that a character can have. It just happens to be a pile of traits with social (non-game-mechanical) indicators attached.

A Navy SEAL is going to be a higher point value character than an average bloke, because the SEAL has lots of training and physical conditioning the average bloke doesn't have. If that SEAL is also an Elf, then they're going to be a higher-point value than the average SEAL, because they can do things that the SEAL can't. The same thing holds true if the SEAL was an ordinary human who obtained elf-like capabilities through innate talent, training, or augmentations — if you have a trait, you're paying points for that trait.
That's the thing, a half elf starting with ST11, DX11, IQ11 and HT11 should be a better Navy SEAL than a human with ST10, DX10, IQ10, HT10. But you can't spend the same amount on the "Trained by Navy SEALS" skill with the half elf, because you had to spend all the points getting their attributes where they should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
GURPS is not like other systems where races are blackboxed and just come as is. In GURPS - in all of GURPS - you get what you pay for. So if your race is strong you pay for extra ST. Humans can buy ST too - but they'll never be as strong as the strongest member of a strong race. That's just how it works.
However a Halfling shouldn't be able to buy as much Strength as a Dwarf, but a Dwarf shouldn't be as Dexterous as a Halfling. There's no incentives to build one over another. A Halfling could wield a maul and a Dwarf could use a bow, when there should be racial traits that give them benefits and disadvantages towards the opposites.

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
The alternative would be to make all racial templates come out to 0 points, which would be a bother.
It would make character creation much more dynamic. You'd be able to think about the world you're going into and what you think would be most fun. Rather than just a human fighter calling himself an Aarakocra and spending all your points on the Advantages and disadvantages trying to make him seem like one, then not having any points left for skills.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

But yes, races with lower point cost (like humans in DF) have more flexibility than other races. However, often a non-human has traits that a human cannot get. For instance, in my world dwarves get Dark Vision for 25 points. That's something a human cannot normally have. So there are swings and roundabouts.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Racism

If you think this is a problem (it's not), then just say something like "You each get 150 character points to start with, not including your racial template, which you can choose from the following list." Of course, this will mean that players will all choose the best race available, because it's "free."
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